Crazy Nell (I of III)

A True Story

The sun was low sinking behind the far trees,
And, crossing the path, humming home were the bees;
And darker and. darker it grew by degrees,
And crows they flock’d quawking to rest:
When, unknown to her parents, Nell slove on her hat,
And o’er the fields hurried - scarce knew she for what;
But her sweetheart, in taking advantage and that,
Had kiss’d, and had promis’d the best.

Poor maidens! Of husbands so much they conceit,
The daisy scarce touch’d rose unhurt from her feet,
So eager she hasten’d her lover to meet,
As to make him to wait was unjust;
On the wood, dim discover’d, she fixed her eyes -
Such a queer spot to meet in – suspicions might rise;
But the fond word “a sweetheart” such goodness implies
Ah, who would a lover distrust!

More gloomy and darker – black clouds hung the wind,
Far objects diminish’d before and behind,
More narrow and narrow the circle declin’d,
And silence reign’d awfully round,
When Nelly within the wood-riding sat down;
She listen’d, and lapp’d up her arms in her gown;
Far, far from her cottage, and far from the town,
And her sweetheart not yet to be found.

The minutes seem’d hours – with impatience she heard
The flap of a leaf, and the twit of a bird;
The least little trifle that whisper’d or stirr’d,
Hope pictur’d her lover as nigh:
When wearied with sitting, she wander’d about,
And open’d the wood-gate, and gave a look out;
And fain would have halloo’d, but Fear had a doubt
That thieves might be lurking hard by.

Far clocks count eleven – “He won’t be long now,”
Her anxious hopes whisper’d – hoarse wav’d the wood bough;
“He heeds not my fears, or he’s false to his vow!”
Poor Nelly sat doubtful, and sigh’d:
The man who had promis’d her husband to be,
And to wed on the morrow – her friends all could see
That a good-for-nought sort of a fellow was he,
And they hoped nothing worse might betide.

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